Mayacamas Vineyards is a wine estate located in the Mayacamas Mountains that divide the Napa and Sonoma valleys. Near the top of Mount Veeder, the old stone winery was dug into the side of a dormant volcano crater in the late 19th century. Fifty-two acres of vineyards are planted on mountainsides ranging from 1,800 to 2,400 feet above sea level. Deer, eagles, cougars, foxes, bobcats, and an occasional bear and mountain lion still inhabit this rugged terrain. Obsidian arrowheads and stone grain-grinding bowls found on the property bear silent testimony to Mayacamas' first human inhabitants, the Native Americans of the Wappo tribe. It is from the Wappo language that the name "Mayacamas" derives. Mayacamas is believed to have meant "the howl of the mountain lion" in the Wappo tongue. But other possible meanings of the word exist: alternatively, Mayacamas may have meant "the source of the water", referring to the springs and headwaters of creeks that feed the Napa and Sonoma Rivers. A third possible meaning of Mayacamas is "standing place" referring to a trail marker, or perhaps sometimes a human scout who stood at a position on the trail in the area, and indicated the direction in which the rest of the traveling party should go. Perhaps, in some way lost to present understanding, "Mayacamas" meant a combination of all of these ideas to the Wappo. But, as the language was never written, and its speakers are no longer with us, the original sense of the word Mayacamas remains shrouded in the the quiet that abides after voices have ceased, and their last echoes have faded. What remains is a homage to the first meaning, "the howl of the mountain lion," on the Mayacamas label, in the emblematic "M" which bears two lions rampant dancing within.
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